Where to Stay

In central and western Massachusetts, you'll find business-class hotels and classic inns beset with nostalgic allure. The Berkshires, in particular, are known for romantic, historic, and extraordinary inns. Although many are not appropriate for travelers with children, there are plenty of alternatives for family vacationers.

Central Massachusetts Home Bases

The list of lodging possibilities in Worcester reads like a laundry list of who's who in hotels: Courtyard by Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Quality Inn, Residence Inn by Marriott. That said, there are some more distinctive choices, too. The boutique-style Beechwood Hotel (363 Plantation Street, 508-754-5789 or 800-344-2589, www.beechwoodhotel.com) has elegant touches and business amenities and is a popular choice for parents visiting their children at local colleges. About ten away in Spencer, you'll find the Red Maple Inn (217 Main Street, 508-885-9205, www.theredmapleinn.com), a circa-1780 Federal-style colonial home turned B&B that is on the National Register of Historic Places; the owners welcome well-behaved children over the age of ten.

Staying in Sturbridge? You'll find charming, family-friendly choices such as the Publick House Historic Inn (277 Main Street/Route 131, 508-347-3313 or 800-PUBLICK, www.publickhouse.com). Built in 1881, it features seventeen rooms and suites, many with canopied beds and other period touches. Just a short walk from the main inn, the Country Motor Lodge has an additional ninety-two rooms, an outdoor pool, and budget rates.

For extensive amenities, try the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center (366 Main Street, 508-347-7393, www.sturbridgehosthotel.com), which offers four restaurants, an indoor pool, a fitness center, miniature golf, and a private lake with a beach and paddleboats. The Sturbridge Comfort Inn & Suites (215 Charlton Road/Route 20, 508-347-3306, www.sturbridgecomfortinn.com) also has family appeal with its indoor pool and whirlpool, outdoor pool, complimentary deluxe continental breakfast, and on-site Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

The Central Massachusetts Convention & Visitors Bureau (508-755-7400 or 800-231-7557, www.worcester.org) lists many other lodging properties at its Web site and in its downloadable guide for visitors.

Springfield Sleepovers

After a day at Six Flags or one of the Pioneer Valley's other attractions, you'll definitely need a place to rest your weary heads. Not only do hotels in the Greater Springfield area welcome families, they often provide enticements, such as admission tickets for area sights, so be sure to inquire about special deals when you book your room.

FAST FACT

Want free tickets for Six Flags New England? At www.sixflagshoteldeals.com, you'll find information about hotels in Massachusetts and Connecticut that have partnered with the theme park to offer accommodations packages that include Six Flags admission. Contact participating hotels directly to check availability and confirm details.

If you're planning to visit the Basketball Hall of Fame, you won't find more convenient accommodations than those at the Hilton Garden Inn (800 West Columbus Avenue, Springfield, 413-886-8000, www.hiltongardeninn.com), just a short walk from the Hoop Hall. The Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel (One Monarch Place, Springfield, 413-781-1010, www.starwoodhotels.com) is the city's largest hotel. It overlooks the Connecticut River from its convenient location off I-91 and offers guests an indoor heated pool, room service, fitness classes, spa treatments, racquetball courts, and a game room.

In Northampton, the grandeur of an old New England hotel awaits at the Hotel Northampton (36 King Street, 413-584-3100 or 800 547-3529, www.hotelnorthampton.com), a 1927 Colonial Revival gem that is a member of Historic Hotels of America.

In Amherst, the Lord Jeffery Inn (30 Boltwood Avenue, 413-253-2576 or 800-742-0358, www.lordjefferyinn.com) dates to 1926 and offers both authentic New England fare in the Windowed Hearth Restaurant and a lighter menu at Elijah Boltwood's Tavern, in addition to forty-eight guest rooms and suites. Children under twelve stay at no additional charge, although there is a fee for use of a crib or cot. For reasonable rates, book a room at the Campus Center Hotel at the University of Massachusetts (1 Campus Center Way, 413-549-6000, www.aux.umass.edu/hotel). This 116-room “teaching hotel” is a training ground for students majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

If you're looking for the quintessential New England inn, look no further than the Deerfield Inn (81 Old Main Street, Deerfield, 413-774-5587 or 800-926-3865, www.deerfieldinn.com). Located in the heart of Historic Deerfield, this 1884 National Historic Landmark has twenty-three individually furnished guest rooms with four-poster beds and other pleasing touches.

Bedtime in the Berkshires

Whether you choose to save a few dollars by booking a standard hotel room or to treat yourselves to a true New England experience by reserving a room at an historic inn, you'll sleep soundly at the end of each active vacation day in the Berkshires.

The Red Lion Inn (30 Main Street, Stockbridge, 413-298-5545, www.redlioninn.com) was originally a 1773 stagecoach stop rebuilt in 1897 after a devastating fire. The inn was immortalized in Norman Rockwell's painting, Main Street, Stockbridge. The historic property accommodates families in both the main inn and the spacious guesthouse suites located in adjacent homes.

Children under twelve stay free in a room with their parents at Cranwell Resort, Spa, and Golf Club (55 Lee Road, Lenox, 413-637-1364 or 800-272-6935, www.cranwell.com), a 380-acre estate with an 1894 Tudor mansion as its focal point. Resort guests can enjoy a host of recreational activities including golf, tennis, cross-country skiing, and swimming indoors or out.

For a rustic retreat, consider Race Brook Lodge Bed & Breakfast (864 South Undermountain Road/Route 41, Sheffield, 413-229-2916 or 888-RB-LODGE, www.rblodge.com), a 200-year-old New England timber-peg barn with exposed-wood beams, wide plank floors, and warm, inviting nooks that has been transformed into an inn with thirty-two cozy rooms and suites.

JUST FOR PARENTS

Lenox is home to one of the world's most highly regarded health spas, the Canyon Ranch Health Resort (165 Kemble Street, 413-637-4100 or 800-742-9000, www.canyonranch.com), where you can relax, be pampered, and learn healthy-living secrets that will extend your spa vacation long past your stay in the Berkshires.

If you're seeking something a bit more standard, you'll find hotels and motor inns as well. Among the larger options are the 179-room Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield (One West Street, 413-499-2000, www.berkshirecrowne.com); the modern and convenient Comfort Inn & Suites (249 Stockbridge Road/Route 7, Great Barrington, 413-644-3200 or 800-437-3260, www.berkshirecomfortinn.com); the Econo Lodge (130 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, 413-637-4244 or 877-424-6423, www.choicehotels.com); Yankee Inn (461 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, 413-499 3700 or 800-835-2364, www.yankeeinn.com); the Best Western Black Swan Inn (435 Laurel Street, Lee, 413-243-2700 or 800-876-7926, www.bestwestern.com) overlooking Laurel Lake; and the Orchards Hotel (222 Adams Road, Williamstown, 413-458-9611 or 800-225-1517, www.orchardshotel.com), an upscale, forty-nine-room retreat.

For additional help in locating accommodations, contact the Berkshire Visitors Bureau's Lodging Reservation Service, 800-237 5747, ext. 140.

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